Four Transaction Merchant Data Issues


#1

Summary
Outlining three issues with transaction merchant data I’ve noticed over the last few months that seem to lead to multiple transaction merchant profiles for a single merchant. Apologies for the long post, but I’ve found it difficult to explain the issues succinctly.
NB: Android user.

Issue 1 - Lowercase postcode issue
TL;DR
Unfilled “Country” section in merchant details causes lowercase postcodes. Also leads to multiple merchant profiles for a single merchant (discussed further in Issue 3).

Issue in Depth
– This issue is best illustrated using an example.


Image 1 - transaction view of merchant (“The Slug”). Note uppercase postcode and correct logo present. AKA Profile 1.

– Image 1 shows the transaction view of a merchant in MONZO. Note that merchant has the correct logo and the postcode is all uppercase as it should be. The merchant profile for this transaction will referred to as ‘Profile 1’.


Image 2 - transaction view of same merchant (“The Slug”). Note lowercase postcode (boxed in red) and no logo present. AKA Profile 2.

– Image 2 shows a different transaction from the same merchant. However, in this transaction, the logo is now gone and the postcode is lowercase, except the the first letter. The merchant profile for this transaction will referred to as ‘Profile 2’.

– Exploring these merchant profiles further by going into “IMPROVE NAME, LOCATION OR LOGO” ⇒ “Improve the name or location” ⇒ “Add merchant details manually” gives image 3 for Profile 1 and image 4 for Profile 2.


Image 3 - merchant details for ‘Profile 1’. Note the postcode is in uppercase and “United Kingdom” is the value under country.


Image 4 - merchant details for ‘Profile 2’. Note the postcode is in uppercase, but there is no value in the “Country” section (boxed in red).

– I have found a number of transaction merchant profiles for different merchants, including a Dutch one, which have this same issue. Profiles with an unfilled “Country” section always have a lowercase postcode, while profiles with a filled “Country” section have an uppercase postcode.

– There are also cases where the correct logo is present on the merchant profile with a lowercase postcode and no logo is present on the merchant profile with an uppercase postcode. An example of this is given in image 5 and image 6. Both these merchant profile exhibit the behaviour in their merchant details as outlined in the previous point (ie: unfilled “Country” = lowercase postcode).


Image 5 - transaction view of merchant (“The Clapham Grand”). Note uppercase postcode and no logo.


Image 6 - transaction view of merchant (“The Clapham Grand”). Note lowercase postcode (boxed in red) and correct logo present.

– MONZO treats these two merchant profiles as completely separate merchants even though they are actually transactions from the same merchant. This can be seen by the discrepancy between the “Number of payments” value in the images: one in image 5 and two in image 6 .The separate profile even show up as separate merchants on the monthly reports in the “Spending” tab as seen in issue 3.

Suggested Fix
– Make filling out the “Country” section compulsory for MONZO users when submitting transaction merchant details manually.

– Make filling out the “Country” section compulsory for MONZO employees when confirming transaction merchant details.

Issue 2 - “Somewhere in” issue
TL;DR
Some merchant profiles have “Somewhere in” before their address for no apparent reason.

Issue in Depth
– For some merchant profiles the words “Somewhere in” appear before the full, correct address of the merchant.


Image 7 - transaction view of merchant (“The Clapham Grand”) with uppercase postcode and no logo. The words “Somewhere in” appear appear before the merchant’s address.


Image 8 - transaction view of merchant (“Chimayo”) with lowercase postcode and correct logo. The words “Somewhere in” appear appear before the merchant’s address.

– Images 7 and image 8 demonstrate that the issue seems to be unconnected to Issue 1.

Suggested Fix
– Automatically remove “Somewhere in” if a house number or name is provided in the address (“Somewhere in” makes sense if only street or road is specified).

Issue 3 - Multiple merchants profiles for the same merchant
TL;DR
Multiple merchant profiles exist for same merchant. MONZO treats each profile like a completely different merchant (ie: separate merchants in “Spending” tab, counts number of transactions separately) . Possibly due to different card readers.

Issue in Depth
– A number of transaction merchant profiles have been created for a single merchant. MONZO treats these merchant profiles as independent merchants even though they are transactions from the same merchant.

– “Number of payments”, “Average spend” and “Total spent” values are calculated independently for each merchant profile.

– Each merchant profile shows up as a separate merchant in the “MERCHANTS” section of the monthly reports found in the “Spending” tab as seen in images 9 & 10.



Images 9 & 10 - overview of “MERCHANTS” section in “Spending” tab displaying different merchant profiles for a single merchant (“The Clapham Grand”) over a month. Unrelated transaction merchants have been blacked out.

– Images 9 & 10 show that there were five separate merchant profiles for “The Clapham Grand” in a single month:

  • Uppercase postcode, correct logo.
  • Lowercase postcode, correct logo.
  • Uppercase postcode, no logo, “Somewhere in”.
  • Lowercase postcode, correct logo (again).
  • Uppercase postcode, incorrect logo.

– Originally some of the transaction names contained numbers such as “Clapham Grand 5” and “Clapham Grand 11”, before I reported them, which makes me think they might be linked to separate card readers.

Suggested Fix
– Method of reporting separate merchant profiles which belong to the same merchant for MONZO staff to check and combine into a single merchant profile.

Suggested implementation

– Option in the “IMPROVE NAME, LOCATION OR LOGO” section for reporting that transaction A is a multiple merchant profile (poosible name = “Report multiple merchant profiles”. This would open a view of all your transaction merchants with the same name as transaction A where you can select all the merchant profiles that should be combined. The information would then be passed on to MONZO staff to be combined into a single merchant profile.

Issue 4 - Differing Website Addresses for Online Transaction Merchants
TL;DR
Different website address forms for website addresses in online transaction merchants.

Issue in Depth
– There are also cases of multiple merchant profiles for single online transaction merchants. Both merchant profiles in image 11 are online merchants profiles for the same merchant (“Uber”).


Image 11 - overview of “MERCHANTS” section in “Spending” tab displaying different merchant profiles for a single online merchant (“Uber”) over a month. Unrelated transaction merchants have been blacked out.

– Going into “IMPROVE NAME OR LOGO” ==> “Improve the name or location” gives image 12 for a transaction belonging to the Uber merchant profile at the top (£81) and image 13 for a transaction belonging to the one at the bottom (£26).


Image 12 - details for transaction belonging to top merchant profile in image 11. Note the website address boxed in red.


Image 13 - details for transaction belonging to bottom merchant profile in image 11. Note the website address boxed in red.

– The website addresses and logos are the only differences between the two profiles.

– I have also come across website addresses of the form “https://www.monzo.com/”, “www.monzo.com” and “monzo.com” (MOZO web address used as example).

Suggested Fix
– Standardise website address form would allow MONZO to easily locate multiple profiles as they could just search for profiles with the same details - ideally “www.” (automatically remove “https://”). “www.” appearing automatically can be used as a prompt for people to not include “https://”. (I’ll expand on the ‘appearing automatically’ point in a seperate post in the future).

EDIT: included issue 4 on online transaction merchants
EDIT 2: suggested method to implement combining multiple merchants under "Issue 3 - Suggested Fix


Possible Bug report: Merchant details
Wishlist to make Monzo perfect
(Jolin) #2

Excellent write-up! This is a long standing issue and I would love to see something done about it. I’ve even had a merchant given two different ‘profiles’ on different visits even though they only have a single card reader which hadn’t changed. Took back and forth to get it sorted.

I’m addi to the cases you’ve outlined, I also get a variant of the ‘somewhere in’ scenario where the map doesn’t show the location, despite the full address being present:


#3

The ability to search a merchant’s address using the Google maps feature and then edit the merchant details manually would also be useful. A number of times I’ve had to get the location marker and address changed by MONZO first before getting the name changed (Google maps doesn’t always have the correct names!)


(Eve) #4

This is such a good post! It’s so lovely to see an in-depth analysis/ suggestions for improvement with pictures. I had similar issues with Post Office, it ended up being filed under two different groups with the same name and had to be manually merged by Rika. Now the self-service till is filed under a different name despite being at the same branch too but I haven’t messaged to sort it out. I feel like the changing of these details is still so much a manual process which slows it down a lot.


#6

The thing that bothers me the most is doesn’t seem like a particularly difficult thing to fix.

There just needs to be an option in the “IMPROVE NAME, LOCATION OR LOGO” section for reporting multiple merchant profiles. This would open a view of all your transaction merchants where you can select all the merchant profiles that should be combined. The information would then be passed on to MONZO staff to be combined into a single merchant profile.

I can only think of one issue with that system off the top of my head: if merchant profiles for different merchants get accidentally combined then it could be difficult to explain to MONZO that only one transaction belongs to a different merchant using the reporting system, although this issue could turn up with the current system too. A possible solution could be to have another option in the “IMPROVE NAME, LOCATION OR LOGO” section for reporting this, maybe “Transaction is from different merchant”?

Although it is slow I do think the current system for changing details is a good one. However, linking a merchant’s logos to their twitter profiles, after they have been verified by MONZO staff, so that the MONZO logo automatically updates if the merchant’s twitter profile picture does would be good.


#8

I can think of others. The most obvious is when you have a small supermarket say Tesco with fuel pumps say Esso, with a Subway and a Costa inside, then you have a conflict. Some card holders may want their petrol transactions as Esso but others as Tesco. If you buy a Costa coffee should it come up as Costa or asbin a Tesco as Tesco. I can see changes being made on mass, disputed, changed, and keep switching back and forth.

Also with BP some are BP owned and others franchise. Some people may not mind a transaction appearing as say a franchisee MTM but others will want it BP as per the brand, despite the Mastercard transaction feed only showing the Merchant name, in this case not BP


#9

Point 1

– The first issue you suggest appears to be with MONZO’s current system of updating merchant data, not with the system of combining multiple merchant profiles which are for the same merchant, but I’ll answer it anyway.

– As far as I can tell, MONZO gets its merchant data from a mixture of data sent to MONZO by the merchant from the payment (eg: card readers registered to the merchant) and the location of the transaction; this initial data is improved using crowd sourcing.

– In the scenario you describe, the payment data sent to MONZO would tell them which merchant was being used (eg: if the petrol payment was processed by Tesco or a Tesco registered card reader, it would show up as “Tesco” on the app, not “Esso”). Someone could try to update the merchant data so the transaction belonged to the “Esso” merchant profile and if it was approved by MONZO staff, the transaction would be updated until someone tried to change it back leading to the back and forth switching you described. I imagine MONZO has some sort of method to prevent this based on the number of people who try to switch the transaction to one of the merchants. If MONZO got the merchant data wholly from the location, which I don’t think they do, there isn’t an issue because all the businesses described in your scenario would be registered as in the same place, so someone requesting a change from, for example, Costa to Subway, would only have the transaction changed on their device. Note that none of the points I’ve made so far have anything to do with combining multiple profiles for the same merchant.

– The system I suggested for combining profiles would not allow the merchant profiles for Subway and Costa to be combined, since they are obviously different companies and this would be quickly spotted by the member of MONZO staff allocated to approve the combination. Therefore, I’m not sure your first paragraph is really an issue at all.

– To be clear, I’m talking about combining profiles such as those in image 11 in my orginal post, so to change a transaction A originally labelled as “Costa” to “Tesco”, you would first have to use the crowd sourcing methods currently available to change transaction A to “Tesco”. If this is successful and transaction A is labelled as “Tesco”, but this “Tesco” merchant profile is a separate profile from the “Tesco” merchant profile that labels all your other Tesco transactions (like in images 9 & 10 and 11 in my original post) you would then submit a “combine profiles” request to MONZO to combine the two “Tesco” merchant profiles that have been created.

Point 2

– I’m not sure what you mean by this if I’m honest. Surely a franchise would be selling under the brand name (“BP”), which would also be its merchant name, and not have its own separate name as this would defeat the point of a franchise as I understand them - I’ve never come across a franchise which has individual store-by-store names. So, a purchase would use the BP merchant profile.

A Solution to My Problem

– In thinking about your points, I’ve realised that the “issue” I pointed out, isn’t an issue at all. If two merchant profiles were combined incorrectly, it would just be the same as some of the transactions being incorrect and so the error could be fixed using the crowd sourcing systems currently available.

EDIT: corrected spelling and grammatical errors.


#10

Not true. As an example, the BP garage in Broomfield Road in Chelmsford do their POS transactions with “MRH Admiral” as the MasterCard merchant name.


#11

– But even if the MasterCard merchant name is “MRH Admiral”, I image the franchise is still selling under the name BP. So while initially the MONZO merchant name would show up as “MRH Admiral”, this should be updated to “BP” through crowd sourcing since that is the name the merchant is trading under.

– However, this isn’t an issue for the process of combining multiple profiles for a single merchant profile that I described in my original post because, as I described in the quote below, the merchant name would first have to be changed from “MRH Admiral” to “BP” before a request for combining the profiles would be processed.

– The option for combining profiles could even be set up to only let you request a combination for two merchants of the same name (ie: when you choose the “Combine merchants” option from the "“IMPROVE NAME, LOCATION OR LOGO” in transaction A, only merchants with the same name as transaction A would be given as options).

Separate Additional Point
– I do think it would be good to have a “Your branch history” section along with the the “Your history” section in the part of the transaction view boxed in red in image A.


Image A - transaction page for merchant (“Tesco”). The “Your Tesco history” section is boxed in red.

– To reduce clutter in the UI, the “Your history” and “Your branch history” could be expandable like this:

Your Tesco history

Number of payments


Average spend


Total spend

Your branch history

Number of payments


Average spend


Total spend

– Data for the “Your branch history” section would be collected by comparing merchant data and location. This would also encourage users to suggest location fixes in the app, further improving MONZO’s merchant database.

– It would also be nice to have an option to list all the transactions for a particular branch too, possibly by clicking the “Number of payments”, “Average spend” or “Total spend” part of the “Your branch history” section. This would take you to a view like the one currently found for transaction merchants in monthly spending reports (image B), except only transactions from the specific branch would be shown (something similar already happens when you click on these sections in the “Your history” section. the name of the merchant and the address of the branch would be displayed in place of “March” in image B and a map of the location could also be displayed at the top of the screen just like in non-online transactions.


Image B - view of transactions for merchant (“Tesco”) found in month spending report.

– Additional features, such as the ability to search transactions by location would also be useful.

I might submit the additional point as a separate topic thread at some point.


(Patrick) #12

I like the separating branches idea, whilst not separating them.

As well as the petrol station thing - fuel brand, franchise, or shop brand?..

  • In my area another issue is the Co-op. Where I live we have the national Co-op brand (grey with blue Co-op logo - Co-op), Southern Co-op (still branded in green -The Cooperative Food) and then a second brand called ‘Welcome’ by the Southern Co-op.

All three are Co-ops and are allowed to use the national Co-op brand and sell Co-op branded stuff. But the only one that comes up consistently as correct in my app are the national, grey with blue logo, Co-ops.

The other two have their merchant info set randomly and they always come up wrong in app (as the national Co-op).

Should they just be ‘Co-op’? I’d prefer them to appear as the actual brand above the door.


(SA) #13

On two occasions over the weekend I went to two different Wetherspoons pubs and ordered through the app, they initially appeared as “JD Wetherspoon”… However 3 times this week the merchant names and logos for those transactions have changed to completely random pub or hotel names that I’ve never been to.

Is there any veting of the merchant suggestions people submit? Or is it just blind faith that the suggestions are correct?


(Patrick) #14

I’ve just come across another (related) problem. I used contactless on a local bus the other day.

The bus company was Bluestar buses, owned by ‘The Go-Ahead Group’.

However, in-app it came up as ‘Uni-link office’, it had a really bad image of a bus as it’s logo and the address was somewhere near Southampton Uni. I suggested the change in-app and then later via chat. I’ve had it updated to this logo:

I also suggested the name ‘The Go-Ahead Group’ - as it’s the parent company for Uni-link and Bluestar - and the address I’ve had changed to the ‘Go South Coast’ head office in Poole.

The thing is that the merchant info is, ‘go south coast poole’ - I know for sure that The Go-Ahead Group run buses under several different names around my area and neighbouring areas. Bluestar, Wilts & Dorset, Uni-link, MoreBus, Salisbury Reds, etc, etc, and they’ll all have the same merchant info.

What’s to stop someone using a bus down in Bournemouth, thinking that the logo is wrong and then having it changed to the MoreBus logo, likewise, someone in Southampton suggesting the Bluestar logo as correct - leaving us with an ever incorrect, ever changing logo situation?

There should maybe be a way to come to a definitive answer and lock a logo/location in place.


#15

This is exactly why there should be a notes section when you make a submission to let people explain to Monzo why they have made a change


(Patrick) #16

I don’t know why anyone at Monzo would have approved the original logo - it really did look terrible.

It was an image of a Bluestar bus that looked like a jagged still from an animated GIF from 1996.

There should also maybe be a quality threshold.